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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:11 pm 
Spider Lady
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:23 pm
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Location: Staffordshire
Preston Guardian

Saturday 11 May 1850

Recollections of Burnley Hall

It may not be uninteresting, says a correspondent, to some of your readers to be informed, in consequence of your alluding to the half-yearly meeting of the tenantry of Charles Towneley, Esq., on the 20th ult., at the Hall Inn, in this town, that the Inn called the "Old Sparrow Hawk," being the crest of the Towneleys, viz: On a perch Or, tied thereto with a ribbon Gules, a Sparrow Hawk proper, jessed and belled of the first -is unquestionably the oldest victualling house. —The other is the fine old Hall of Burnley, (originally Brunley and Brunshaw, on the shelving banks of the river Brun,) erected by Sir
Richard Towneley, Knighted at Hutton Field, in 1481. His three brothers were seated some miles distant. Lawrence of Barnside, afterwards of Carr, Nicholas of Greenfield, subsequently of Royle, and John at Hurstwood.* Finished for a splendid town house, it was filled with retainers and menials, purposely to receive or attend upon the then widely spreading progeny of this leading county family, whenever they thought fit to assemble together, and which was oft the case, in fine, for them it was a fashionable Hotel of the present day. Part of the venerable mansion was built in the reign of King Henry the 7th, though some of the rafters and indestructable masonry, indicate even a hall at an earlier period, and not improbable, precisely as the basement of the present grand pile of Towneley Hall. Immediately behind, a ? was crowned with aged elms, ash, and a rookery, with an avenue of sycamores by the river side, extending to the approach of the church, to which from time to time, the family have been its earliest — its munificent benefactors, and the advowson rightfully continues to this day through a female representative in Robert Townley Parker, Esq., of Cuerden and Royle. The late justly esteemed Peregrine Edward Towneley, Esq., like many of his predecessors, possessed a taste for antiquarian research, and invariably showed the time-worn, weather-beaten edifice to his visitors, or strangers, attached to the same pursuit, relating every legend pertaining thereto — lamenting, also, that his Grandfather who espoused the Sister of the last Lord Widdrington, and resided chiefly in London, finally deserted the Hall, and suffered it to be converted into an Inn, since which event, the premises with capacious outbuilding's have been divided and subdivided, still however, great antiquity is traceable on surveying the intetnal parts. Strange to tell, coaches were then quite unknown, for they had not been invented, therefore persons of quality were compelled to go on horseback, beset with miserable, narrow, miry, nay almost impassable roads, which accounts for the Lancashire Witches, in old sonnets, being famed as fearless equestrians, especially when hunting. Soon after was introduced the unfeeling, unsightly practice of the sturdy Yeoman with his dame, seated on a pillion behind, riding 30 or 40 miles a day, to visit friends; fortunately, in this age of improvement, we travel very differently. In the days of Sir Richard, there lived in the neighbourhood, Dyneley, of Dyneley, Halsted, of High Halsted and Rowley, Barcroft, of Barcroft, Ormerod, of Ormerod, Habergham, of Habergham, Towneley, of Barnside, Towneley, of Greenfield, and Towneley, of Hurstwood. The Nowells, Symonstones, Starkies, Banastres, Waltons, and Whitakers were not of Burnley. They each intermarried, as was customary among the patricians, forming the old aristocracy, but all who now, out of the number, bear the patronymic, are Townelay and Halsted, the rest have passed away, for time will level us all, though time cannot change nor accident abate, and Southey says—
"Yet Time will every grief remove -
With Life — with Memory — and with Love."
The Towneleys, of Towneley, themselves resided principally on their extensive romantic domain of Hapton, with its Tower and enclosed park well stocked with deer, inherited by descent from the very ancient Dela-Leghs, but entirely abandoned upwards of two centuries ago, and not a vestige remains, save the foundation walls.

*Sir John of glorious memory, filled the office of High Sheriff of Lancashire, from the 23 to the 32nd year of Henry 8th; and was his oldest son, supporting the dignity in a princely style, he died in 1540, aged 68, undeviating from their appropriate Motto, Tenez le vray. The late P.E. Towneley, Esq., as the first Roman Catholic on whom the honour was again conferred, after the passing of the "Emancipation Bill," and a lapse of nigh three centuries.


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